Gender justice focus

The University had been an all-male institution for many centuries. The gender justice focus in the anniversary year allowed the University of Vienna to convey a vital message: The University analysed hierarchical gender relations, increased the visibility of female academics and presented contributions of women’s and gender studies to our society's sustainable development.

The gender justice focus was organised by AG UniFrauenJubel: Team members are Gabriella Hauch (supervisor), Nikolaus Benke, Elisabeth Holzleithner, Maria Mesner, Birgit Sauer, Sigrid Schmitz, Renee Schroeder, Ruth Wodak, Mischa Messer (coordination)

Female academic as profession – a lecture series

a female teacher in front of a blackboard

In each lecture two female academics tell the audience about their career path that led them to their current roles at the University of Vienna. The lecture series concentrates on the decisive factors in women's academic careers. The interlocutors are not only invited to present the framework conditions and strategies relevant to their career paths but also their research projects in an interdisciplinary discourse.

Female academics: yesterday – today – tomorrow

the shadow inlay "The Muse has had it" ("Der Muse reicht’s") by the artist Iris Andraschek at the arcade yard

The video loop "Wissenschafterinnen: Gestern – Heute – Morgen" makes a valuable contribution to increasing the visibility of women in academia. It presents women that have decided to take a degree or pursue an academic career at the University of Vienna in the past and present. Throughout the anniversary year the video loop "Wissenschafterinnen: Gestern – Heute – Morgen" was a crucial step to compensate the lack of appreciation of forgotten female academics.

Current events & projects

Symposion "Gender_Language_ Politics"

the plenar hall of the European Parliament
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The interdisciplinary and international symposium "Gender_Language_Politics" is the concluding event of the gender justice focus during the 2015 anniversary programme. It concentrates on discussing ways of making visible and hiding women in public space, mainly from the perspective of linguistics, media studies and political science. The keynote speakers are Deborah Tannen, Luise F. Pusch, Helga Kotthoff and Stephanie Schnurr – renowned female academics who gave rise to the paradigm shift in research.

Arcaded Courtyard art competition – honouring female academics

the shadow inlay "The Muse has had it" ("Der Muse reicht’s") by the artist Iris Andraschek at the arcade yard
In 2009 the University of Vienna raised the problem of this deficit and the fact that women were excluded from higher education for centuries with the shadow inlay "The Muse has had it" ("Der Muse reicht’s") by the artist Iris Andraschek.

The Arcaded Courtyard of the University of Vienna is an important symbolic location. Here there are more than 150 monuments of male academics but, for a long time, there was no visible sign of women’s presence in the academic world. In its anniversary year the University of Vienna initiated an ideas and realisation competition to add to the existing busts in the Arcaded Courtyard with monuments of female academics not honoured to date.
The goal is to create several monuments for a selection of important female academics.

Radical Busts – an exhibition by Marianne Maderna

a bust of Marie Curie
Bust of Marie Curie. (Photo credits: Marianne Maderna)

In spring 2015 the exhibition "Radical Busts" in the Arcaded Courtyard was the kick-off event for many projects that served as a reminder that women were not allowed to go to university in Austria until the late 19th century. The artist Marianne Maderna has sculpted 33 golden busts of extraordinary women that have influenced the course of history.

Frauen Aus/Schluss – women chanting the text "Schlüsselgewalt" by Elfriede Jelinek

the Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek
Photo credits: Martin Jukovich

In June 2015 the performance Frauen AUS/SCHLUSS (end to the EX/CLUSION of women) took place. The Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek wrote the text "Schlüsselgewalt" specifically for the 650th Anniversary. In this performance, this text was chanted in the Arcaded Courtyard of the University of Vienna by a speaking choir consisting of female university staff and students.
The text of the Austrian Nobel Prize laureate in Literature and former student of the University of Vienna addresses the situation and lack of visibility of women in the academic world.

Women and future – an international symposium

women for future

Responsibly shaping the future: Under this motto distinguished experts discussed challenges and approaches associated with gender-sensitive development and environmental responsibility over two days at the interface of academia and society. They focused on prospective questions concerning the link between humans and technology, the evolutionary demands on humans between nature and culture and on current debates on climate change.

Angela Davis: Life between Politics and Academia – a lecture

a picture of Angela Davis
Photo credits: Angela Davis

From the FBI wanted list to an iconic figure of the US civil rights movement: As part of the 650th Anniversary, the philosopher Angela Davis visited the University of Vienna and talked about her life as activist, segregation in America and the struggle against oppression that is still going on.